Look Ma, No Hands


Oh, infinite love for people and their discipline

Oh, infinite haste and desire

Oh, to love without one eye on the door

I ride my bike and the sky is marbled blue and white, hemmed by blushing trees. It is autumn and we are all cold because we live on the California coast and our houses do not insulate us and our rent is so high we cannot afford to pay for heat, so instead we go out and pay for other things to make us forget how very cold we are at home. But while we are out, we are reminded of how nice it is to live here because the trees are turning and the sky is crystalline and crisp and you could break it over a knee if you wanted, never mind if that makes no sense. I ride with no hands, which also doesn’t make sense because of course I have hands, they are just not on the handles. They are in my pockets or enveloping fists pressed to where my open mouth breaths hot air into the small creases of my palms. I ride with my hands in either of these positions and think about this summer and that guy riding along 28th who did a drum solo for the whole length of the park. I think of Kim power-riding down B Street in secret competition and how Joel spied her from the corner. I think of what Angella said about how, when I ride with no hands, I summon the zeitgeist, which is spirit of the times, which is really just the spirit at present. And yes, I want this spirit. Perhaps that sounds insincere, but I do.

I think about this weekend in Bakersfield and how I prayed with my parents before I left for my new home, cold as it is. I felt funny at first, speaking aloud my intentions and desires into the open space above our breakfast dishes. But as the words were released, I thought about how beautiful they sounded floating above that table, rising above the kitchen and soon the house, and I wanted them so badly to be heard. Throughout the day, they remained, and continued to rise. Floating above the interstate as I drove north, and floating above San Francisco as I drank so many beers with my classmates the following night, sitting next to the girl who wrote about religion that one time, and who rolls her eyes in a good way when I’ve mentioned the complicities of faith. Because we drank so many beers and because my words to the Holy Spirit were still floating along the Western United States, I asked her what kind of faith she has now and if she feels a touchtone for it at all. We talked about the fear of God and how difficult that is to shake. I talked about love and what I love about Jesus is that he is wise and loving, if often misunderstood. She said even Nitchze likes Jesus and I said Salinger did too. And I don’t remember what else we said, but I am certain that I rambled on about the best parts of the Christian faith like I do when I get drunk, because there is still much reckoning to do, if only to correspond words and spirit, habits and intention. Never mind that this is as tangled as my syntax. In the meantime, you’ll find me en route, handsfree: words floating overhead, wheels spinning underfoot.